As the UN Strives to Modernize Peacekeeping, the US Still Vows to Cut Funding

As peacekeepers sweat and toil and risk their lives in some of the world’s most lethal settings — South Sudan, Mali, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo — it is incumbent on the United Nations and its 193 members to alleviate the suffering and deaths of troops as fatalities keep rising. In 2017, … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

The UN Base in Timbuktu: A Demanding Deployment in the Sahara

TIMBUKTU — Who wants peace in Mali? If everyone says they want it, why is carrying out the 2015 peace agreement and its cease-fire so difficult? Part of the challenge for the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali is not only helping to implement the agreement in the major cities, such as Timbuktu, but also … Read more

GEOPOLITICS

The UN Peacekeeping Mission in Mali Escapes Trump’s Hatchet

After a month of contentious debate between the United Nations Security Council and UN budget committees, agreement has been reached for the UN to stay focused on Mali and the Sahel region, where terrorism is threatening to destabilize the area. The region extends across Africa from east to west in an arc right below the … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Despite the Terrorist Attack on Our Beloved Malian Resort, We Will Come Back

It always took me ages to hit the road to the Kangaba camp. Leaving downtown Bamako can be tricky, especially if your place is baco fé — on the far bank of the Niger River — as they say in Bambara, the local language. The traffic is a nightmare. On weekends, dozens of old yellow Mercedes … Read more

 

WORLDVIEWS

Can the G5 Force Work Counterterrorism Magic in Africa’s Sahel Region?

Although the plan to deploy a West African troop contingent, called the G5 Sahel Joint Force, presents an opportunity to improve much-needed cooperation among the Sahel countries, it will not be a game-changer in the fight against the persistent security challenges in the region. Yet, without adequate financial and logistical support from the United Nations … Read more

As Terrorist Threats Rise in Mali, the Dutch Slowly Pull Out of Peacekeeping

The Dutch contingent of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali is withdrawing its seven helicopters from the operation by spring, leaving a wide hole in reconnaissance and intelligence gathering for the mission that desperately needs those assets. With no immediate supplier for replacement helicopters in sight, the withdrawal presents an additional strain on the mission, … Read more

Women Managers Sought for Jobs in UN Peace Operations

The United Nations is looking for new blood to staff its peace operations while prompting long-serving employees to get out of headquarters and work in the field. In demand for jobs in UN peace operations are female managers, bilingual English-French speakers and those psychologically capable of performing effectively in a difficult environment where there is … Read more

Snakes, Scorpions and Red Tape: Europeans Adjust to the UN Mission in Mali

Since its rollout in 2013, the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali has been actively recruiting more European troops to strengthen its ranks of police, military and civilian personnel from African and Asian countries, typical sources for UN missions. The mission’s main mandate is to protect civilians, stabilize the country and carry out a peace … Read more

 

We Need More Support to Expel Boko Haram, Chad’s Envoy to the UN Explains

An offensive against Boko Haram by a regional task force is preparing to deploy, led by Nigeria and its partners — Chad, Niger, Cameroon and Benin. At least that is the plan. Troops will number about 8,000 soldiers, with headquarters based in N’Djamena, Chad’s capital, and headed by a Nigerian, Maj. Gen. Iliya Abbah. The … Read more

UN Peacekeeping Needs Top-Down Restructuring, Expert Panel Says

The creation of a new office of deputy secretary-general for peace and security to consolidate and hasten United Nations’ responses to conflicts, and a surprising suggestion that the UN should not undertake missions involving counterterrorism were two major recommendations for the future of peacekeeping to emerge from a high-level seven-month study commissioned by Secretary-General Ban … Read more

As Mali Teeters Closer to the Edge, the UN Mission Soldiers On

Facing a surge in violence that has made it the United Nations’ deadliest peacekeeping operations now, the UN mission in Mali is struggling to convince populations in the north of the country that it can overcome the remaining obstacles to ensuring that a peace agreement is signed soon and to help restore stability in the … Read more

El Salvador Is Sending Peacekeepers and Helicopters to UN’s Mali Mission

The small Central American nation of El Salvador has been playing an increasingly active role in United Nations peacekeeping operations around the world. From the UN mission in Haiti to the one in South Sudan, troops from El Salvador are assisting with surveillance and rapid response, including engineering, refueling and aircraft support operations on the … Read more

 

The UN’s Mission in Mali: A Deadly Fight Against Terrorists

The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali, the most demanding and bloodiest operation in the organization’s global portfolio, is moving its major functions from its base in Bamako, the capital, to Gao, a remote city also on the Niger River, and other camps in the north. The goal is to keep a vigilant eye on … Read more

With Mali in Political Turmoil, High FGM Rates Persist

BAMAKO, Mali — In the primarily Francophone and Anglophone region of West Africa, Mali is said to have one of the highest rates of female genital mutilation, with about 91 percent of girls and women having undergone the circumcision — a rate that has not only stayed stubbornly high but may also be inching upward. … Read more

UN Peacekeeping Upgrades Its Reactions to Conflicts and Adds Surveillance Tools

By the time United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon named a panel in October to review peacekeeping comprehensively for the first time in more than 14 years, innovations in technology and intelligence-gathering to make UN missions more effective had already been introduced by the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations. The strategic and tactical changes, some still … Read more

Is Bert Koenders Leaving the Mali Peacekeeping Mission?

Albert Gerard Koenders, the United Nations special envoy for the Mali peacekeeping mission, may be leaving that post in Bamako, the capital, to return to his native Netherlands as the new foreign minister. Neither the UN nor the Dutch government has announced the possibility yet, but some media accounts in Europe and in Mali suggest … Read more

 

Saving Timbuktu’s Manuscripts, One Ancient Page at a Time

Technicians working for Savama, digitizing the manuscripts.

BAMAKO, Mali — The deliberate burning of thousands of ancient manuscripts by the Islamic jihadists who seized Timbuktu and other parts of northern Mali in 2012 dealt an emotional blow to the culture and scholars there and far beyond. To add insult to injury, some of the manuscripts, which were destroyed in the Ahmed Baba … Read more

UN Helped to Locate a Black Box From Recent Air Algérie Crash

BAMAKO, Mali — The two black boxes from the recent Air Algérie crash in northern Mali have been retrieved with the help of the United Nations mission in the country, officials from the Algerian and Malian governments told the media just days after the crash happened, killing everyone on board. The press conference was held … Read more

UN Peacekeepers Heading to the Central African Republic by the Fall

The United Nations Security Council has authorized yet another peacekeeping force for an African country, the Central African Republic, approving up to 12,000 military and police personnel who are not likely to arrive until mid-September. The goal of the force is broad, given the nation’s crippled affairs: restore law and order, protect civilians, provide humanitarian … Read more

China Takes a Peacekeeping Risk in Mali

Chinese peacekeepers arriving in Bamako, Mali

China has dipped a big toe in peacekeeping waters by sending its first-ever infantry troops to work for a United Nations mission — in this case, Mali, where a mission was set up last summer to stabilize the country after a military coup in 2012 and a French military intervention against Islamic extremists in early … Read more

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